Travelling in Northern Israel: Tree Planting, Bird Watching, Health Food, and More
Photo courtesy yourway.co
By Jonnalyn Pascual
Visiting Israel is always an experience that can never be duplicated elsewhere. With its vast landscape changes and cultural multitudes, it offers a taste of pretty much everything one can imagine. Thinking of Israel in terms of visits and tours one will usually think of cities like Jerusalem or Tel Aviv or even trips like Taglit-Birthright Israel, but most forget something truly impressive that Israel has to offer: the lush green hills of the North! With plenty of sights and eco-friendly places to visit, the North is truly the destination of choice.
Israel is known worldwide for its impressive water waste recycling and its desalination of sea water to produce enough drinking water for its inhabitants, but something that is not advertised as well is the tremendous amount of work that scientists, activists and tourists alike put in to make the planet a better place.
One of the first things to do is to contact the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and arrange a day to plant your own tree, whether it is to plant a tree in honor of someone or just to be part of the bigger picture of greening the land. As of today, JNF has helped plant over 250 million trees in its 100 or so years of existence, a truly rewarding activity and a great experience for the lonesome traveler or family excursion.
Once the tree is in the ground, a nice place to head to is the Hula Valley situated on the northern section of the Syrian-African Rift Valley. This water-abundant, cultural paradise serves annually as a layover for over 500 million migrating birds coming from Africa, Asia and Europe. The Hula Valley offers the birds a place to rest peacefully and a perfect feeding ground.
Photo courtesy of yourway.co
The Hula Valley was once drained in the 1950s due to a malaria outbreak in the region, but was eventually refilled to revive the wonderful eco-system it creates. Before it was drained it was described as the perfect hunting ground, offering all kinds of game mammals and birds. Scientists even discovered Paleolithic remains providing evidence that the Hula Valley has been used for a very long time to find food, water and a perfect resting place. The first permanent village in the area was built around 10,000 years ago and since then the Hula Valley has always been inhabited.
Today, the Hula Valley is a reviving natural reserve and offers some great bird-watching sites, with the option to organize a group tour or personal tour with one of their highly-trained tour guides and experience some of the greatest moments in the long migration journey of all sorts of birds. Photographers and bird watchers: be prepared to see some unique sights.
Those are just two of the many options that northern Israel has to offer for great eco- friendly tours and activities, but one question still remains: where should one sleep?
A definite possibility is the retreat Mitzpe Alummot situated on Kibbutz Alummot. This retreat is a natural food health institute and rejuvenation center. They offer clinics and seminars on how to better your health and provide organic foods, juice fasting, yoga classes and much more. Their motto is based upon Hippocrates’ philosophy: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” As for the sleeping arrangement, the resort has 24 suites available, all overlooking the beautiful Sea of Galilee. Talk about eco-luxury!
About the Author: Jonnalyn Pascual
Jonnalyn Pascual is a Marketing Consultant for AbsolutelyIsrael, a licensed Israel tour operator committed to creating programs by organizing Taglit Birthright Israel trips. AbsolutelyIsrael is a company that is recognized by Taglit Birth Right Israel for consistently providing participants with the best creative programming.